William Hewett: Bledisloe Cup - All Blacks player ratings

OPINION: Almost a year since the All Blacks last played, they returned to play out a pulsating draw with the Wallabies in the Bledisloe Cup opener at Wellington's Sky Stadium. 

In a match where Australia dominated possession and territory, New Zealand did a mountain of defending and probably did well to come away with a draw. 

Here's how their players stacked up individually:

1-Joe Moody 6

The Crusaders prop had a solid game, but nothing special. He got through a mountain of work making 16 tackles and four runs. 

Held onto James Slipper to create an opening for Aaron Smith’s try. He had one big second-half scrum, otherwise the scrum was an even contest. 

Subbed 58th minute.

2-Codie Taylor 6

In very tough, windy conditions, the lineout operated solidly. Taylor provided a great inside ball to set Bridge away for Smiths’ try. 

Subbed 58th minute  

3-Ofa Tuungafasi 5

Tuungafasi had a mixed day. The Blues prop made 14 tackles, but also missed four. 

He made a crunching tackle late in the first half and had one big scrum early in the second.

Subbed 63rd minute

Ofa  Tuungafasi in action against Wallabies.
Ofa Tuungafasi in action against Wallabies. Photo credit: Photsport

4-Patrick Tuipulotu 5

The Blues captain had a quiet game. He won the lineout against the throw in the first half, which led to three points, but he also gave away a penalty for a no-arms tackle. 

Subbed off 75th minute

5-Sam Whitelock 6

Another consistent performance from the veteran All Blacks lock, organising the lineout superbly in tough conditions. He made 15 tackles and won a breakdown penalty just before halftime.

6-Shannon Frizell 6

The Highlanders flanker had a great first half and was key in the opening try to Jordie Barrett. 

Frizell won the lineout against the throw, then later showed great hands to put Barrett over in the corner. Subbed 63rd minute.

7-Sam Cane 9

In his first game as full-time All Blacks captain, the Chiefs flanker was the All Blacks' best player and put to bed any doubt that he is New Zealand’s best openside flanker. 

Cane got through a mountain of work, making 25 tackles - several them bone-crunching - and impressively missing none. 

He won crucial breakdown turnovers that kept his side in the contest when they were under pressure. 

8-Ardie Savea 6

The blockbusting flanker was quiet on his home ground. He made eight tackles, while also missing two. 

He made a crucial turnover in added time, after Hodge's penalty hit the post and Australia were hot on the attack. 

Aaron Smith scoring against Australia in Wellington
Aaron Smith scoring against Australia in Wellington Photo credit: Photsport

9-Aaron Smith 6

In his 93rd test match, Smith had a better first half than second. Provided fast ball to the backs, especially in the first half. 

His kicking overall was pretty good, giving his chasers time to compete. Great finish to the try just after half-time. 

Subbed 68th minute

10-Richie Mo'unga 5

After winning the battle for the No.10 jersey over Beauden Barrett, Mo’unga struggled with the Wallabies line speed, especially in the second half. 

In the first half, he made a couple of dangerous runs and looked dangerous. He missed a penalty kick for touch where the ball rolled dead, giving the Wallabies a chance to attack late in the opening half. 

11-George Bridge 6

Got involved during the first half, making three runs for 41 metres, but dropped a couple of high balls in tough, swirly conditions. He made a great break that led to the Smith try.

12-Jack Goodhue 5

The Crusaders midfielder never really had the opportunity to get involved much. Due to the Wallabies dominance, he was forced to focus on the defensive side of the game, making 15 tackles.

Reko Ioane bombing a certain try.
Reko Ioane bombing a certain try. Photo credit: Photsport

13-Rieko Ioane 4

Making his first start at centre, Ioane really struggled and will be very lucky to keep his spot next week. He was the weak link in the All Blacks side, where the Wallabies exposed him defensively. 

He missed two tackles and also got caught out in defence during the Koroibete try. He bombed a certain try at the end of the first half, after he was way too casual in the put-down.

Made a couple of dangerous runs in the first half, one that led to Barrett try.

Subbed 57th minute. 

14-Jordie Barrett 6

Playing in a position he’s not totally comfortable with, he handled himself very well. Finished off the first post-COVID international try. 

He struggled off the tee, going two-from-five in tough conditions at Sky Stadium.

15-Damien McKenzie 6

A late inclusion for the injured Beauden Barrett, McKenzie had a nice game. The Chiefs fullback won a crucial breakdown turnover on his own goal-line in the 21st minute to halt the Wallabies attack. 

He struggled under the high ball, dropping a couple of bombs - one led to an Aussie penalty. Subbed in 68th minute

16-Dane Coles 5

The Hurricanes hooker was subbed on in the 58th minute. The lineout was solid, but failed when it mattered in added time.  

17-Karl Tu'inukafe 4

The big Blues prop was subbed on in the 58th minute and had one massive scrum that led to a penalty. 

Gave away a crucial breakdown penalty that presented James O’Connor the opportunity to put Australia in front. Dropped the ball in added time, when the All Blacks were hot on attack. 

18-Tyrel Lomax 5

The Hurricanes prop was a late inclusion for the injured Nepo Laulala. He was subbed on in the 63rd minute and had a quiet performance. 

Involved in one big scrum. 

19-Tupou Vaa'i 5

The exciting Chiefs lock made his debut for the All Blacks in the 75th minute. He made three tackles, but dropped a crucial lineout in added time. 

20-Hoskins Sotutu 6

After an outstanding Super Rugby season, Sotutu continued that form on his All Blacks debut. After coming on in the 63rd minute, he got through a truckload of work making nine tackles.

21-TJ Perenara 5

The Hurricanes halfback came on in the 68th minute. Didn’t have much of an impact, but provided good service. 

Caleb Clarke made an impressive debut.
Caleb Clarke made an impressive debut. Photo credit: Photsport

22-Anton Lienert-Brown 5

Subbed on after 58 minutes. Didn’t have much of an impact, but made two tackles and could get a start next week, after Ioane's poor performance. 

23-Caleb Clarke 8

The exciting Blues wing excelled on his international debut, coming on after 68 minutes. Made a massive impact, with four huge runs for 55 metres, while also beating five defenders. 

He was the best player off the bench and now has a very good chance to start next week. 

William Hewett is a Newshub online sports producer. Join us at 4pm next Sunday for live updates of the second All Blacks v Australia Bledisloe test